Excellence is a Habit
As we tell our kids, how you do anything is how you do everything. If your hobbies are worth doing, they are worth doing to the best of your ability, whatever that may be.
We were recently reading a newsletter from Elite HRV (a free HRV monitoring app). We have found monitoring HRV (heart rate variability) to be very useful to get insights into when we should take it easy at the gym or go to bed early and when it’s ok to burn hot for a while. It’s incredible how the body can tell us when we are getting run down days ahead of noticeable physical symptoms.
In the article, the company describes those who embrace a so-called “going-pro” mentality. From the newsletter:
“The going-pro mentality is a commitment to mastery. It is a reflection of your curiosity, your passion, and your disciplined capability of mining the deep ravines of a passion even when your time is limited…The going-pro mentality is not a reflection of knowledge, experience, or talent. Any novice can embody the going-pro mentality as fully as a seasoned professional.”
The newsletter goes on to outline how some elite performers in a given field bring the same level of intensity to other interests, however mundane. For instance, according to the internet, Warren Buffett plays eight hours of bridge a week. Tom Hanks is very into vintage typewriters. Anil Ambani is a serial marathon runner. Liam Neeson and Eric Clapton are avid flyfishermen. Bob Barker had Chuck Norris train him in karate (that’s so cool). Mat Fraser (Crossfit Games champion) is apparently extremely passionate about coffee-making. Again, from the newsletter:
“Dr. Peter Attia, a well-known clinician and longevity expert, is obsessed with watches, archery, Secretariat (the Triple-Crown winning American racehorse), and motorsport…just to name a few. Obsessed is not an overstatement. Dr. Attia’s idea of a driving lesson is a two-day session at Buttonwillow, where he trains with a private coach, a dedicated racing team, video playback, telemetry reviews, and by the end of a weekend, twelve bald tires. Dr. Attia is a man of means who will never compete in a professional driving race – but he epitomizes the ‘going-pro’ mentality. He pursues his passions like a professional would.”
Some might say it’s silly to take recreational activities so seriously and that Peter Attia is just some weird rich guy playing race car. Maybe. It’s safer to just say you don’t care about a hobby and protect yourself from embarrassment. It’s easy to scorn those who invest a lot of time into their hobbies and put themselves out there.
We, on the other hand, have always agreed with Aristotle and thought of excellence as a habit. With that core philosophy, it’s hard to be lazy in your hobbies and excellent in your professional pursuits. As we tell our kids, how you do anything is how you do everything. If your hobbies are worth doing, they are worth doing to the best of your ability, whatever that may be.
With some reflection, Chenmark probably exists because of this belief pattern. It’s endemic to who we are. What started off as an interesting side-hustle idea quickly turned into quitting our jobs, moving to Maine and buying a landscaping company, all of which led us to create a full-blown small business holding company. After all, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. So, yes, we go deep on small business M&A… and HRV monitoring… and fantasy football…and all sorts of other strange things. We get that this trait makes us bad at laissez-faire social events. That’s a trade-off we are willing to live with.
Have a great week,
Your Chenmark Team
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